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Environmental Sciences Graduate Major (MA, MS, PhD, PSM)

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Graduate School | Environmental Sciences | Interdisciplinary Program Detail

Graduate Areas of Concentration

Biogeochemistry, ecology, environmental education, natural resources, quantitative analysis, social science, water resources

The Environmental Sciences Graduate Program provides curricula leading to MA, MS and PhD degrees in Environmental Science. The curricula integrates thinking across disciplines, especially life, physical, and social sciences. Environmental science explores natural processes on earth and their alteration by human activity. OSU has exceptional strength in many of the disciplines, including science, agriculture, forestry, engineering, public health, liberal arts, social science, and oceanography and atmospheric science. Strength in these disciplines allows the ES Graduate Program to provide high-quality interdisciplinary education for environmental scientists and continuing postgraduate educational opportunities to scientists who are already active in the field. The degrees administered by the program are OSU’s contribution to the Joint-Campus Graduate Program for Environmental Sciences, Studies, and Policy, which links environmental graduate programs among the major research universities in Oregon.

The ES Graduate Program develops scientists who will be able to analyze and understand environmental systems, predict environmental change, and participate in the management of the environment. Each student completing a major in the ES Graduate Program will perform research and complete a thesis, dissertation, or research project. Each student will complete a core of ES graduate courses that will integrate concepts across the physical sciences, life sciences, and social sciences. Each student will also develop depth in a carefully designed, interdisciplinary area of concentration or track. Tracks that are currently available include ecology, biogeochemistry, social science, quantitative analysis, water resources, and environmental education. Methods and numerical skill courses, electives, and thesis make up the remainder of a student’s program.

Students in the ES Graduate Program may choose advisors from faculty members already appointed at OSU, as well as other scientists who apply and are accepted in the environmental sciences graduate faculty. The Environmental Sciences Graduate Program fosters interdisciplinary education, and seeks connections between institutions.

For more information, contact Dr. Andrew Blaustein, Director, Environmental Sciences Graduate Program, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-2904, or email:

Degree Requirements

MA and MS Degrees (45 credits)

Environmental science core courses (9)
Methods and numerical skills courses (6)
ES area of concentration (Track) (15)
Elective courses (3–9)
Thesis (6–12)
Note: The MA degree requires proficiency in a foreign language.

PhD Degree (108 credits)

Environmental sciences core courses (10)
Methods and numerical skills courses (9)
ES area of concentration (Track) (30)
Elective courses (3–23)
Thesis (36–56)

PSM Degrees Requirements (54 credits)

Environmental science core courses (10)
Methods and numerical skills courses (4)
Area of concentration (16)
Professional courses (18)
Internship (6)

Professional Science Master’s Degree in Environmental Science

Andrew Blaustein, Director
Environmental Science Program
2046 Cordley Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331

The worlds of science and business are increasingly interconnected, creating strong demand for environmental professionals who can create partnerships for research, policy, and public outreach initiatives. The Professional Science Master’s (PSM) in Environmental Science at OSU is the first program of its kind in the Pacific Northwest and was created with the help of professional affiliates employed in leadership roles in industry and agencies concerned with the environment. Special training in business management, communications, and ethics complements the core science curriculum, and students are required to complete an internship in lieu of thesis research. Several federal research laboratories are located in the Corvallis region, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Forest Service, and the Bureau of Land Management.

The PSM program can usually be completed in two years, based on full-time study and at least 54 credits. Core environmental science courses form the foundation of this program by providing students with basic skills in environmental research methods and analysis (ENSC 508, ENSC 515, ENSC 520, and a 3-credit core elective). Course work in areas of concentration give focus and identity to each student’s curriculum and allows for flexibility in response to changing employment demands. Areas of concentration are currently offered in biogeochemistry, ecology, environmental education, quantitative analysis, social science, natural resources, water resources, and sustainable natural resources. The sustainable natural resources concentration is offered online as an 18-unit block during summer term. Numerical skills courses expose students to research design, statistical analysis, modeling, survey design, or other quantitative and qualitative techniques. Professional courses are required in communication, research ethics, and business management (PSM 513, PSM 565, PSM 566, PSM 567, COMM 550 and PHL 547). These courses are designed to be taken in sequence during the first academic year. Students are required to complete a 3 to 6 month internship (6–12 credits) in lieu of thesis research (ENSC 510).

For general information about PSM programs, contact the PSM Director, 2082 Cordley Hall, Corvallis OR 97331, 541-737-5259; email:

Major Code: 6420

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